Carlos Miele

When it comes to fashion that glorifies the body, Brazilians are seldom wrong. They brought us the Brazilian wax, the thong, and now, fashion designer Carlos Miele. Part social visionary and part cultural artist, Miele is known for fusing disparate elements to create a whole. Beyond his passion for fashion, Miele uses his clout to establish social programs that fight poverty and improve health facilities for impoverished children in his native country.

What was the inspiration behind your spring and fall collections?
For the Fall/Winter 2003 collection, I imagined a winter with the energy of the tropics and the purity of the glaciers together. For the Spring/Summer 2003 fashion show, called Pombagira, I created a multimedia show that mixes video art, fashion, dance, and music. Pombagira was inspired by the beauty and sensuality of two female archetypes—the Pombagira, a Candomblé entity and Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Their sensuality is reflected in the collection with forms that enhance the female body with deep necklines, asymmetry, and slits.

How does Brazilian culture influence your collection?
The root of my work is the Brazilian popular culture, which originated in the African diaspora and its force of miscegenation between Europeans and Native Indians. I seek to value the dignity of human beings in ethnic questions. Brazil’s diversity, its exuberance, and our interracial blending are always inspiring me. In my fashion designs, I mix high technology fabrics with traditional techniques such as crochet, nozinho (knots), patchwork, and native objects like seashells and feathers. I think it is very interesting to make contemporary clothes combined with craftsmanship; it is a bridge between two distant worlds. When I am creating, what interests me most is this kind of dialogue, focusing on the nonsense of paradoxes existing between the elite and the excluded, contemporary and tradition, high-technology and archaic, real and virtual.

Tell me about the social causes you are involved with.
COOPA-ROCA, (an artisan cooperative in Rio de Janeiro), is one of them and works with some of the traditional handcraft techniques of our country. Through this work, I created a link between the advanced technology of large international industries and true Brazilian craftsmanship. I also have a partnership with Santa Casa of Sao Paulo, the public hospital that attends to the largest number of underprivileged people in Brazil. I reconstructed the new Children’s Emergency Hospital, a facility that provides free care to more than 15,000 children per month.

How do you see the connection between art and fashion? How will this transpire in your N.Y. boutique?
I believe that art can occur in any medium and place. I like to transition between frontiers and propose a dialogue through different expressions. I can do this in a museum, on the street, on a stage, or on the runway.

Tell me about the technologically advanced fabrics you’ve pioneered.
I have worked on the development of new fabrics containing optic fibers, tri-dimentionals, liquid metal, and PET denim, which was created with fibers of recycled plastic bottles and cotton.

What art collaborations and projects are you working on now?
I am bringing my multimedia show, “Rituals,” to Brazil. This performance is based on my roots and questions conventions and formalisms, migrating between different frontiers and languages. I blended dance performance, music, video installation, and conceptual fashion, evoking three body genres: the primitive body; the digital body, in video-art; and the mythical body, a unit both poetic and worshipped; that actually reflect a social discourse.

– Hillary Latos

Reading by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Carlos Miele.

1. This person has done a lot of work on themselves. As a child, would have had a tendency to be an underachiever, a shyness that kept him from showing his light, but it appears to be completely overcome by now.

2. There is a tendency to act first and explain later. Mind you, there always will be a very good explanation as to why he did that, but he comes up with it after he did it. In reality he just did it because he could, not for any premeditated reason.

3. An explorer. This tendency to explore and investigate new areas will be in the field of lifestyle primarily and also subcultures and ways of living. There is some independence of thought, but greater independence of deed.

4. A trendsetter, always in the vanguard of fashion and lifestyle.

5. The mad genius of his creativity will still burst forth in the wee hours when slightly drunk or in his dreams, but he will have managed to put it to bed by morning so that he can go forth into his normal life and get things done.

6. Great intensity here. Lives life of both heart and mind with great gusto. Fortunately, there is excellent health to support this intense lifestyle.

THE SPRING ISSUE


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